Upper Back Pain

Back pain is the largest single cause of disability in the UK.  Upper Back Pain can be described from the Lower Rib area (Thoracic / Dorsal) to the neck (Cervical).

The upper spine is very strong and stable to support the weight of the upper body, as well as to anchor the rib cage which provides a cavity to allow the heart and lungs to function and also to protect them.

In most cases, the pain is likely to be self-limiting; in that case no diagnostic tests are required, and simple pain relief is sufficient.[1]More severe and prolonged cases may require more specific pain management strategies and occasionally investigations for underlying medical diseases.

What can cause Upper Back Pain?

Upper Back Pain can be caused by a number of things including:

  • Scoliosis
  • Vertebral Epiphysitis
  • Scheuermann’s Disease
  • Costochondritis
  • Postural Syndrome
    – Upper Cross Syndrome
    – Lower Cross Syndrome
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
  • Rib Subluxation
  • Myocardial Infarction
  • Lifestyle choices such as carrying a bag or backpack on one shoulder

Here is an explanation of a few of the conditions above.


A Scoliosis is lateral bending &/or rotary deformation of the spine, named for side of convexity. It is common & considered normal to have small right scoliosis around heart. This is Usually first detected
through Adam’s test; also perform leg length evaluation. Generally, double curves have a greater risk of
progression & the greater the curve at detection the greater the risk of progression

Vertebral Epiphysitis

This is the disorder of calcification of vertebral epiphysis characterised by notching & wedging of the vertebral end-plates & abnormal kyphotic spinal curvature – diagnosis is usually made by x-ray.

Postural Syndrome

This results in chronic neck, back & arm pain secondary to postural fatigue of muscles in the shoulder
girdle, anterior spine & prevertebral fascia Synonyms: Forward Head Postural Syndrome (FHP), Student syndrome
You may notice that you are Slumping head forward posture with rounding of shoulders (slouch position) – increased thoracic kyphosis & compensatory cervical lordosis – long term posture can result in “upper cross syndrome”.

What treatment may help me?

Our Sports Massage,  Therapeutic Massage or Reflexology treatment may help you.


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